“All it takes is an empty coconut shell, left out in the rain,” says Dr. George Varghese, from the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, while discussing the recent dengue epidemics in India. The shell can act as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which transmit the dengue virus between humans with when they bite.
It takes a lot to be a good aunt if you’re a velvet spider. In fact, it takes your internal organs. After tending lovingly to your sisters’ eggs and regurgitating food for newborns, it’s time to offer yourself as the main course for the spiderlings to suck you dry.
A simple meal is all that’s needed to determine the fate of a honeybee larva. It turns out that fragments of genetic material from flowers in their food control the bees’ destinies.
Mice, like any other animal, do not age gracefully—they lose weight, move less, and their coats become patchy. But mice of a particular strain in Daniel Kalman's lab at Emory University School of Medicine ward off these declines. The secret, Kalman has found, is in the animals’ guts.
Current fire prediction models use meteorological parameters like wind, atmospheric humidity, air temperature and rainfall, all of which affect moisture content and thus the flammability of forests. But a recent study, published last month in the journal Nature Climate Change, puts forth a new factor: groundwater.
The woolly webs of orb-weaver spiders form an inescapable trap around prey. But it’s not just the threads’ tangles that ensnare meals; the waxy coating on some insects teams up with fibers from the spider web to form a composite adhesive material, gluing prey in place. Thus, in a rather dark turn of events, the insect’s cuticle promotes its own capture.
“There have been multiple hypotheses about how ticks manage to cling on to different surfaces,” says Voigt. “The common opinion about tick attachment, so far, was interlocking with their claws. Our study finds proof of the adhesive properties of the pads on tick’s feet.”
Thanks to illiberal treatment guidelines, a complex treatment regimen and a formidable bacterium, the rise of extensively-drug-resistant tuberculosis is always waiting to happen, especially in India.
Your neighbourhood pooch has an alternative avatar. When there is not enough food around, dogs can go hunting and bring down wildlife and livestock.
The Egyptian vulture normally has a yellow wrinkled face surrounded by a halo of white hair. But on Fuerteventura island in the Canaries off the coast of Africa, many vultures sport reddish heads and necks, with the colour varying from pale brown to deep crimson.
Some female dragonflies go to great lengths to avoid sex—they fake their own deaths.
A moth that looks and acts just like a spider is so convincing that it receives elaborate courtship displays from its predator.
A protein found on the beautifully coloured skin of a frog from the Western Ghats has the potential to be a weapon against the influenza virus, a recent study has found. The ‘weapon’ protein has been named ‘urumin’ after urumi, a sword with a flexible, whip-like blade used in Kalaripayattu, a martial arts form native to Kerala.
The collector sea urchin looks like a pretty pincushion lying on the ocean floor, going about its business of munching on algae and seaweed. But when threatened, this sedate pincushion has a most extraordinary defence.
A study has found that conditions conducive to the spread of malaria are created when projects that cause land-use change and labour migration are kicked off.